This Giving Tuesday, donate to BLK GRL, a production made for black women, by black women, and with black women in mind.

What is BLK GRL?  For my senior project at Purchase College, I am producing, writing, and directing my own original play entitled BLK GRL (pronounced “black girl”), that will be making its debut in February.  BLK GRL is composed of monologues, dialogues, and conversations with the audience that touch on a myriad of topics affecting the lives of black girls and women, specifically of this generation (police brutality, self-identity, politics, mental health, etc.).  Born out of conversations and interactions I’ve had with black millennial women in my life and thoughts I’ve had myself, it is a play that not only unveils unspoken thoughts but allows for eight talented black women to shine on stage in roles made just for them.

Director Ahtiya Liles and Videographer Paul-Ann Rose reviewing footage during the video and photo shoot earlier in the month.  Taken by Production Photographer Devin Douglas.

Why is BLK GRL important?  BLK GRL is a work of art that deals heavily with the varying experiences of being a black woman and millennial in this country.  Being a black American woman and the intersectionality of these identities greatly impacts the way I see the world, how and why I make art, and why I am so dedicated and committed to the representation of diverse stories on stage.  I have experienced a lot throughout my college career, and a large part of that growth was me coming into who I was a black woman who usually finds herself in predominantly white (sometimes racist and anti-black) environments.  I know that a lot of my fellow black girl friends have experienced some of these same thoughts, either subtly or overtly, and it is important that we put content on stage that sometimes makes majority audiences uncomfortable and provides a safe theatrical space for audience members of color.

How can I help?  As with all senior projects within my major, we are responsible for funding our projects.  That’s where you can come in!  The funding of BLK GRL is reliant solely on donations, and we’d be thrilled if you donated to our production!

What would my donation be going towards?  With the help of your donation, we’ll be able to purchase props, costumes, set pieces, artistic supplies, etc.

What if there’s extra donations?  Any excess donations we do not  end up using for the production will be going to a charity organization that is dedicated to helping black women and girls in some way, shape, or form.  The four organizations we are choosing between are INCITE!, Black Women’s Blueprint, National Black Women’s Justice Institute, and Sister Love.  We’d love for your input, so after you’ve clicked the links and read a bit about each organization, vote below with which organization you think we should donate to!

Our goal is $900, and as of when this article was published, we are 19% of the way there at a total of $175 raised!  We’re super grateful to those who have donated so far, but in order for us to make this incredible production a reality, we’re asking that more people join our already growing donors list.  Theatre that celebrates differences, diversity, and inclusion usually gain their momentum from dedicated audience members and patrons who believe in the vision of creating theatre for and by those who usually do not have a voice.  A lot of inspiring hard work has gone into this production by our talented cast of actresses and members of the production team, and it is with donations from friends, family, and the general public that we will be able to bring this production to its full glory.  Any donation amount you are able to give is appreciated and puts us one step closer to producing this show without the worry and stress of financial limitations.

You can click here to donate!  Thank you in advanced for any donations you may be able to give, and if you’re in the NYC/Lower Westchester area in February, we hope to see you at the show you had a part in funding.  If you aren’t able to give, that’s totally okay!  Even sharing this article and asking people you know is a big help to us and spreads the word about our production!

To keep up with our progress and to see more amazing photos like the ones below, follow us on Instagram (@blkgrl_atpurchase) and like our Facebook page (BLK GRL).

Videographer Paul-Ann capturing footage of Emma, who plays the role of Girl 5.  Taken by Production Photographer Devin Douglas.
Capturing footage of Anaela (Girl 1).  Taken by Production Photographer Devin Douglas.
Kache, Girl 2.  Taken by Production Photographer Devin Douglas.
Ahtiya and Kache talking about their weekend while waiting.  Taken by Production Photographer Devin Douglas.
“They will tell you to relax, tell you to chill, tell you to calm down, but you will not.  You will go from small flames to burning embers, from unhatched egg to powerful dragon, from passive to demanding of everything you are owed.” – Girl 5, BLK GRL.